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Weekend Link Roundup (November 15-16, 2014)

November 16, 2014

Ice-ballsOur weekly roundup of noteworthy items from and about the nonprofit sector....

Education 

On the NPR-Ed site, Emily Hanford has a piece (the first in a four-part series) about how Common Core is changing the way reading is taught to kids. (The piece originally appeared as part of American RadioWorks' "Greater Expectations: The Challenge of the Common Core.")

Environment

On Friday, the Sierra Club released a statement from its executive director, Michael Brune, in response to an announcement, expected this week, that the United States will contribute $3 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF),  a new multilateral fund created "to help developing countries reduce climate pollution and address their vulnerabilities to the most dangerous effects of climate disruption."

Here on PhilanTopic, Gabi Fitz, director of knowledge management initiatives at Foundation Center, shares the results of a collaboration between IssueLab and the Oceans and Fisheries team at the Rockefeller Foundation to capture and share knowledge  about sustainable coastal fisheries management.

Impact/Effectiveness

In a post on Forbes, Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, argues that pay-for-success models, although not a silver bullet, "hold the potential to illuminate what works and what doesn’t, and to optimize both delivery of service and tax dollars."

International Development

The mainstream media tends to focus on the bad news, but Africa is changing -- largely for the better, as this slide deck from Our World in Data shows.

Philanthropy

In a post on the Center for Effective blog, Trista Harris, president of the Minnesota Council of Foundations, wonders why it is growing ever-more difficult for someone do something nice without it being analyzed as to whether it provides an appropriate return on investment.

Alliance magazine is accepting nominations for the third annual Olga Alexeeva Memorial Prize, which was established in memory of Olga Alexeeva, founder of the Philanthropy Bridge Foundation. The £5,000 prize is awarded to an individual who has demonstrated remarkable leadership, creativity, and results in developing philanthropy for progressive social change in an emerging market country or countries, and nominations will be accepted through February 28, 2015.

Social Change

In a Ted Talk recorded in October, Michael Green, co-author (with Matthew Bishop) of Philanthrocapitalism: How the Rich Can Save the World and the driving force behind the Social Progress Index, suggests that gross domestic product (GDP) as a measure of economic performance has outlived its usefulness and that the challenges of the twenty-first century demand new tools for measuring the multiple dimensions of social progress and the well-being of society. (Running time: 15:00)

On her Social Velocity blog, Nell Edgington reminds us that social change is not "a one-way street." For it to happen, writes Edgington, "institutions must connect to networks and networks must connect to institutions."

Social Media

Good article by Alexandra Samuel, CEO of social media agency Social Signal, about the dangers of analytophilia -- the overanalysis of your social media efforts. "Analytics are a useful and necessary part of working with social media," she writes, "as long as you engage with them strategically rather than emotionally." To help you do that, Samuel offers six tips:

  1. Start with an answerable question.
  2. Test a hypothesis.
  3. Focus on what's actionable.
  4. Stop making comparisons.
  5. Accentuate the positive.
  6. Know when to take a break.

Last but not least, Beth Kanter has a good post on her blog with lots of info and stats to help you answer that evergreen question: How many social channels should our nonprofit use?

That's it for now. What have you been reading/watching/listening to? Drop us a line at mfn@foundationcenter.org or via the comments box below....

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